What to do when cat, reptile and goat cafés bore you? Go to an owl café, of course!
It all began with cats. After that came the snakes, lizards, goats, penguins, rabbits and squirrels. Now, the Japanese, who indisputably lead the world in innovating novelty culture, have managed to score yet another kawaii breakthrough: owl cafés. Yes, owls!
According to The Japan Times, the trend started in 2012, when one enterprising multi-animal café began featuring owls as part of its menagerie. Then, two specialised fukurou cafés (fukurou being the Japanese word for "owl") opened for business in Tokyo and that set off a buzz.
As various hip blogs and websites highlighted the trend over the past two years, similar cafés began to pop up in other cities in Japan, including Osaka and Kobe – no doubt delighting local hipsters who have grown tired of the usual cat café.
One of the most popular is Fukurou no Mise (Owl Café), located near Tsukishima station in Tokyo. Though it only opens for three to four hours each day from Wednesday to Sunday, and has a "no reservations" policy, Fukuro no Mise has been entertaining long queues of visitors eager to register for a precious slot to bond with the birds.